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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 23rd, 2009, 09:09 PM   #721
Matthieu
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Any US politician who award a $68.6 billion contract to a foreign, and especially a French, company is dead meat!
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 09:59 PM   #722
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
..
Wtf?

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here. Does this mean that we'd have a semi-private company running a truly high-speed line?
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Old September 24th, 2009, 01:23 AM   #723
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Sure is what it sounds like. I wonder what SNCF's aspirations are for California. Didn't know they had the capital to pull stuff like that off. Obviously there would be public funds but SNCF would have to fork over a lot. Interesting. If I'm not mistaken, SNCF is partially owned by the French government. What's in it for them I wonder?
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Old September 24th, 2009, 09:01 AM   #724
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Deride the French all you want, and I agree, there are many times that they do deserve it, but in the area of common-carrier passenger transportation, they know their stuff.

Yes, SNCF is mostly (as in 51%) owned by the French government, but their domestic TGV (short for 'Train à Grande Vitesse', literally 'Very Fast Train') services operate at a *PROFIT* and they singlehandedly destroyed the French domestic airline industry.

If they can make the needed deals and pull it off, more power to them.

Mike
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Old September 24th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #725
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Hum well, I guess French banks can lend the SNCF the money to invest there and they'll get concessions on profits for a few years. Just like they do to Morocco, the Moroccan government has bought the TGV, money was lend by French banks and in return the SNCF will get parts of the benefits generated by the future Moroccan transits for a while.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 06:03 AM   #726
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Before PC bit the brake dust, it had plans to have turbine trains on most routes.

- A
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Old September 26th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgk920 View Post
Deride the French all you want, and I agree, there are many times that they do deserve it
It's allways nice to read things like that. French deserve it as many times as everyone else.

Back on topic. It's quite clear too me that this proposal will not be only backed up by the SNCF. The company doesn't have the necessary capital and financial might. The SNCF will only a part of a biding consortium (along with banks, investors, contractors, manufactors...) They will most likely offer and sell their engineering skills as well as provide the expertise on the topic of running HST and HSR. The scheme could be part of a normal 3P concession contract.

Anyway the whole contract will not be awarded solely to the SNCF but the bigger part will go to US contractors for building the line. Same will go with the trains, a part of them will be build on US soil.

But the whole thing stinks politics like hell. I'm guessing that the SNCF decided to publish an old, or not so old study, of them. You know, pissing on a possible territory, saying "hey, we are here"! Nothing more.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 08:44 PM   #728
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Considering it would be a 220mph line it would be the AGV.
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Old September 26th, 2009, 11:57 PM   #729
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SNCF, operator of France's TGV, unveiled their proposal for the Texas high speed rail line.

From:

http://transportationblog.dallasnews...texas-hig.html

"From Yonah Freemark on the TransportPolitic blog:

At $13.8 billion in construction costs, SNCF expects benefits to outweigh public infrastructure costs by 170% over a period of 15 years. This project would have the highest rate of return of any of the corridors profiled in the studies presented here.

Quoting now from the proposal, as posted on a federal website:

Speeds of up to 220 mph for HSR services are expected to generate a significant number of new trips as well as draw from the air and auto modes. Access to HSR services for both residents and visitors will be convenient due to 7 proposed stations conveniently located close to medium and large city populations, city central business districts and airports to attract residents, providing convenient and cost competitive alternative to driving and air travel.

This HST 220 concept keeps pace for a further complete Texan HS network ("Triangle" or "Tbone" type) involving Houston, once the pertinence of HS services proven. Meanwhile, the existing corridors will serve as key feeders."


Full DFW-San Antonio Proposal:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/20231126/Rail-Plan

Last edited by dfwcre8tive; September 27th, 2009 at 12:09 AM.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 06:34 AM   #730
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Well the faster the better I say, but what makes SNCF qualified to take on this task? Have they worked on something of this magnitude in a foreign country before, in the modern era?
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Old September 27th, 2009, 06:46 AM   #731
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Well, aside from the TGV in France, SNCF had a lot to do with Korea and Spain's HSR network
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Old September 27th, 2009, 06:52 AM   #732
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enkay View Post
Well, aside from the TGV in France, SNCF had a lot to do with Korea and Spain's HSR network
Yeah, but the TGV project started in the 70s. And I don't think Spain and Korea's HSR lines are quite this extensive. They're going to need help either way.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:26 AM   #733
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Dear Amercian friends, I think you misunderstand the way France work. Strictly as a foreigner in Paris I'd say one of the big differences between the two countries is the role of business in the social fabric. In the United States some big corporations may be larger than life ("What's good for GM is good for the United States..."), but in France the big companies are seen as the prolonged arm of the State. This is strengthed by the use of the elite "Grand Ecole" schools, without whose tuition one will never be considered for a top job in either business or the administration. Effectively, the top decision makers on both sides of the table, in a French infrastructure, defense or any other public procurement project, are former classmates.

Therefore, this discussion is not about what the SNCF has to offer to California. If they walk into the West Coast then they will do so as ringleaders of a coalition that will include Alstom, the producer of TGV rolling stock, and the 2-3 construction companies that have built all of France's high-speed infrastructure. (Foreign bidders were allowed by EU rules, but effectively barred from competition through ministerial declarations that these companies were not welcome and any "embarassing" bids would have severe consequences for the French's State's willingness to work with them in the future.) This angle choir will be discretely monitored by M. Bussereau, the State Secretary for Transports.

That said, whereby we who live in France often suffer from this anti-competitive attitude, the French "state-industrial complex" has often been known to subsidise its bids for foreign contracts in order to get a foot in the door - or for unspecified "political" or "strategic" reasons. (More like it, to subsidise domestic jobs if you ask me....) Effectively, this means there's a very real chance that California may get the French taxpayers to co-finance its highspeed railways. In France this will be portrayed as a success because "we beat the bl**dy Germans and Japanese...."

The last question, perhaps, is whether SNCF and its partners are the best guys for the job. In Morocco I'd say an unqualified "yes", since they know the country, speak the language and the geography is not unlike southern France. But in California? The Turks brought in the Japanese for their big projects, because the Japanese are the only ones with experience with highspeed railway construction in an earthquake zone. (These days we may add China and Italy...) Do they have any earthquakes in California?

Last edited by hans280; September 28th, 2009 at 08:54 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 05:06 AM   #734
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Wow thanks for the information. Just as I expected, French taxpayer money would be in there. Fascinating stuff. Well whoever wishes to take on this challenge, I am all for it. Indeed the Japanese have experience, but I think in California, the French already have their foot in the door as a couple California politicians were present to observe the speed record in 2007 and come out very impressed.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #735
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Would be nice if Boeing put some research into high-speed rail...
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Old September 28th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #736
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
Would be nice if Boeing put some research into high-speed rail...
I'd like that too.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 07:32 PM   #737
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Quote:
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Would be nice if Boeing put some research into high-speed rail...
You'd get a gas powered turbine train...
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Old October 1st, 2009, 07:54 AM   #738
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That would be quite interesting.

Boeing has expressed interest in Maglev technology a few years ago.
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Old October 1st, 2009, 09:00 AM   #739
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Think I'm moking you? Just google Jettrain for a brillant example of what oil lobbies can do to a brillant concept (which is HSR)!
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Old October 1st, 2009, 04:57 PM   #740
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Matthieu, t'es sur? I mean, I too am no fan of the Jettrain, but are you sure this train was developed under the influence of the oil lobbies? You'll keep in mind that, for example, the new reasonably-high-speed trains for eastern Saudi Arabia will be diesel powered, simply because the Kingdom is not going to draw electric lines through a desert. It's easy enough to rustle up 25 kV between, say, Bordeaux and Toulouse or between Manchester and Carlisle, because there's plenty of high-voltage electrical infrastructure in those areas already. But... in the middle of the North American wilderness? I always thought THAT was the real reason for the Jettrain.
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